Celebrate Hispanic and Latinx Authors in October with ReadMHK at MPL!
By Jan Johnson, Programming and Outreach Librarian
ReadMHK is a new community-wide nine-month long reading program at Manhattan Public Library. With ReadMHK we wanted to bring the two things together that we love: reading and our community. When we read biographies, memoirs, and novels rather than history books, we can learn about other people and cultures which can lead to empathy and understanding. It’s easier to share empathy with others when you have read a story that opens up their humanity and soul, finding ways to relate to experiences in your own life. To immerse oneself in a book that opens a window into a world you aren’t familiar can leave you engaged, empathetic and educated.
“The Soul of a Woman” by Isabel Allende, the accomplished writer from Chile, is a beautiful memoir that takes you on a journey of her loves, passions, aging and what led to her being a fierce supporter of social justice for women around the globe. As a young girl watching her mother struggle with few choices, her strength and independence was instilled early on. Growing up in the 60’s, her fight for feminism grew as she fought to be taken seriously in a male dominated culture. This book reads like an intimate conversation with the author about her struggles, passions, and honest reflection of her life.
“What would Frida do? A guide to living boldly” by Arianna Davis is a simple biography of the enigmatic artist Frida Kahlo’s life. The author weaves stories of Frida and how she overcame the many obstacles in her life with life lessons for us all to learn and grow. Frida’s brave spirit shines brightly throughout this book as we learn how the creative artist overcame heartbreak and physical limitations, to become an icon in the feminist movement as a woman who did not hide in her husband’s shadows, but became her own champion in the face of adversity.
If you’re looking for a thrilling, fantastical, mystery, horror read for the fall, look no further than “Mexican Gothic” by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. This ticks all the boxes: historical, fantasy, horror, and gothic, with strong women of color as the protagonists, and with race, colonialism, and eugenics thrown in the well-crafted mix. Noemí Taboada is a young socialite in 1950’s Mexico. Restless and not eager to enter into marriage, she is sent by her father on an errand to find her missing cousin. Her travels take an unexpected, sometimes grisly (There is some gore), smartly crafted adventure.
“Sabrina and Corina” by Kali Fajardo-Anstine is a magnetic collection of stories that beautifully celebrates her character’s Latina indigenous heritage. Living in Denver, Colorado these women navigate the land and lives with caution, grace, and quiet force. This is a moving narrative of ceaseless feminine power and an exploration of the experiences of abandonment, heritage, and an eternal sense of home, that we all share.
The co-founder of the Women’s March, Paola Mendoza makes her YA debut with “Sanctuary.” The year is 2032, in a near future America where undocumented 16-year-old Vali from Columbia and her brother avoid deportation in a world where everyone is chipped. Something goes wrong with her mother’s counterfeit chip and brings the Deportation Forces down on their town. Her mother is detained and she and her brother must make their escape to the sanctuary state of California. Heartbreaking and beautifully written, this YA novel is one not to miss.
“The First Rule of Punk” by Celia Pérez is a fantastic middle grade debut. Malú, María Luisa O’Neill-Morales, (but don’t call her Maria Luisa please) is 12 years old and moving from Gainsville to Chicago with her mother. She is not excited about leaving her father and his record store behind. Malú loves music! She love punk rock music! She is equally less excited about living in Chicago and starting 7th grade at a new school. Malú struggles with being the perfect Mexican-American daughter to her mother while keeping her punk rock-loving roots alive. She doesn’t think she’ll ever fit in until she meets some misfits like herself, and they start their own punk rock band, even though not everyone is happy about that.
Please join us on October 19th at 7pm as Elsa Valarezo de Ireton, ESL Instructor at MATC, discusses some of her favorite Hispanic and Latinx authors and share some of your favorites as well. Register online at https://manhattanks.librarycalendar.com and to learn more about ReadMHK.